I went for a cross country ski the night 2016 came to a close. I remember watching the wisps of mist in the distance, and I fancied that it was the ghost of the old year passing. I was sorry to see 2016 fade. But 2017 began with a bright and beautiful morning, in which I took another ski up and down the road. It wasn’t the smoothest route -there were moments when I had to carefully shuffle my skis over ridges of ice or patches without any snow- but the pleasure of the excursion and the beauty of the scene around me made it worth the trip.
There were, of course, moments in the year that felt like a face-plant. 2017 had its obligatory sessions of discouragement, panic, and frustration. But overall it was like my morning ski- a time to wonder as I made my way towards home.
Reading: 2017 was a good year for reading! I completed my list for the Classics Challenge, 12 books in all. I started reading the Bright Empires Series, and finished the first three books: The Skin Map, The Bone House, and The Spirit Well. I found some ancient literature in Early English Poems and Hrafnkel’s Saga and Other Stories. I finally got my hands on A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold, and The Warden and the Wolf King. Both books were well worth the long wait! I bought myself Farmer Giles of Ham, and enjoyed both the refined version, and the early version that was included in this edition. I loved Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship, and heartily recommend it!
This year I read a bit more than usual on my phone and computer. It’s not ideal, but I was able to find some special books that weren’t very available elsewhere. I read Fallen Star, which is a short story featuring one of my favourite characters in the Tales of Goldstone Wood books: Beana! I also found an online stash of writing from early Church history! So far I’ve read the Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas (not to be confused with the Gospel of Barnabas), and 1st Clement, which I enjoyed the most!
Film: I’m not much of a movie person, but my family and I watched some notable films this year. Rogue One was my least favourite among them, actually. It was still a decent Star Wars movie, but not stellar. Chariots of Fire was fantastic, as was The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Out of these three, Chariots of Fire was definitely my favourite. It was well made, historically based, and I found the themes striking.
Writing/Stories: 2017 was a little different concerning the story department. Ever since I bought a new notebook computer and digital painting program, I’ve been more attentive to the combination of story and picture, rather than writing alone.
I was blessed to be given a ‘creative community’ who challenged me to take my ideas for three children’s stories and make completed, written and illustrated, ‘books’ out of them. I had so much fun doing this challenge, even if it grew a little tedious to make draft after draft after draft, trying to get everything just right.
I’ve also gone back to my early love of creating comics/graphic novels. I used to do this all the time as a child, and now I can do so in a way that looks a little more professional. During November, I gave myself the private challenge of drafting an entire graphic novel in a month. The story was completely bonkers, with leprechauns, werewolves, living comets, and an escape from the moon. But I loved and completed this challenge as well.
I still did some very tiny bits and pieces of just plain writing, but that was no longer my main focus, and so many projects were pushed to the side. I abandoned recording my word-count in the writing chart all the way back in March.
Life: Adventures this year included going down into the U.S of A for a wedding, and the gathering of family resulted in some jam sessions. New friends were made, with an impromptu dance party in a kitchen. My bathroom gave up the ghost, and I got a renovation for Christmas.
We had more winter hummingbirds around this year than ever before. On Christmas morning I watched one of the little guys sitting in the tree outside the window, flashing his red neck feathers like a living Christmas ornament.
Faith: While I’m on the topic of the reformation, I have been enthused by ‘re’ words as of late: reform, revival, recollection, reconciliation, restoration, return, and resurrection. I also did a lot of reading, research and reflection. Sometimes I found answers, other times I was left with more questions; sometimes I was inspired, other times I was jaded- but either way I was usually brought back to face the Cornerstone of my faith.
2017 ended, and I woke to find the world again swathed in mist. I could see the silhouettes of trees a short distance away, and then, beyond that, nothing. I couldn’t see into the neighbour’s property any more than I could see into the future. But I’m intrigued by the mystery, and I’m ready to go exploring.